Jesus had just healed a man who had been disabled for thirty-eight years. The healing he sought in the waters of a pool, Jesus had given with two words: “Get up.” By all accounts, people should have been rejoicing with this man, but there was only one problem for some—his healing happened on the Sabbath, and Jesus encouraged him to pick up his mat and walk. Forget the healing, but carrying a mat? Not good.
In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.John 5:17-18 NIV
The tension was quickly building. The more Jesus spoke, healed, and just hung around the area, the more the Jewish leaders wanted him dead. He was gathering a following and messing up the narrative. Sound familiar?
Elton Trueblood writes:
What does it feel like to serve the one other people just want to see disappear?
I had no idea the animosity he was causing until the day the cross in my office fell off the wall. To be clear, that cross was given to me by a former colleague, who was both gay and an atheist, so I did not hang it there to cause an affront to others. I was glad to be able to say it was a gift. (The cross hanging in my car was given to me and my husband by a Muslim friend. Seems people like to give us crosses.)
Now, however, this cross was on the floor, because someone had banged my wall from the other side with a book cart. As everything shook, I yelled out, “Hey, what’s going on out there?” That’s when a colleague stuck his head in as I was reaching behind my credenza to find my cross. “My cross fell off,” I said. “That’s where it should stay,” came the response.
Not sure how to answer, I recovered the symbol of my faith from the floor and rehung it in silence. The source of his rejection stared me in the face.
What response are your attempts to live for Christ getting from those around you? Acceptance? Rejection? No middle ground remains when you serve the one they killed two thousand years ago and continue trying to silence today.
Grace and Peace